Monday, August 13, 2018

The Ruin of Nimbar Adventure 4: The Mustering of the Dwarves



Returning to the lands of H'Garth, Bruenor, Herald of Clan Battlehammer and Warden of the East, sought to muster the forces of the four dwarf clans into preparing for the war against Zaldramas, the mysterious Lord of Chaos who plans to plunge the world of Nimbar into ruin. Having gathered in their ancient halls beneath the Iron Mountains, the dwarf chieftains and their tribes were preparing for Azkal'ronath - the Council of War when a great calamity struck! A spell of darkness fell upon the great hall and when it lifted, the Heralds, the four chiefs of the Dwarf tribes had vanished! In their place stood a single goblin with  a menacing smile and evil words: "We have your dwarf lords, we have your kings beneath the mountains. In stone and rock did they delve and upon the setting of the moon, in stone and rock will they remain! Find them if you dare and dare you not for the greediness of dwarves have summoned dragons and abberants to guard them lest they escape their stone prisons!" And, after delivering this chilling message the goblin slit his own throat.

When You Start the Adventure, Read:

I say we give this dragon a taste of Dwarvish steel right up his jacksies!
Without leadership the dwarves are in disarray and the War Council cannot be formed. And having a dragon guarding each of the captured heralds makes matters worse for dwarves fear, above all else, the sting and curse of dragon fire. They are reluctant to come to the aid of the remaining Companions of the Hall and for now, it seems Drizzt, Catti, Wulfgar, Regis and Artemis are on their own.

But our heroes will have need of quick wit ad skill for the clock is ticking. If they fail to reach the heralds before dawn, they will be cast to stone permanently and the Dwarves will remain leaderless. On top of that, each Herald has a particularly nasty guard to contend with...a particularly scaly and fire-breathing guard!

Goal: Split up and guide your hero down one of four dark paths to find the kidnapped heralds. Then, safely escort the heralds back to the Throne Room so that the War Council rite of passage may be completed.

Number of Heroes: 4 Heroes (Or reduce the kidnapped heralds to the number of heroes playing). This adventure also plays well solo - take it in turns for each hero to attempt a rescue.

Suggested Heroes: Drizzt (LOD), Catti Brie (LOD), Wulgar (LOD), Artemis (LOD)

Healing Surges: 4

Adventure Setup

Cavern Tiles, 2 Dwarf Statue Tiles, Dark Chasm Tile, Crystal Shard Tile, Rocky Passage Tile, Throne Room Tile - all from the Legend of Drizzt Boardgame.

Special Components in this Adventure:

Heroes:
Drizzt D' Urden Dark Elf Ranger figurine, character card and power cards.
Artemis Entreri  Human Assassin figurine, character card and power cards.
Catti Brie Human Archer figurine, character card and power cards.
Regis Halfling Rogue figurine, character card and power cards.
Wulgar Human Barbarian figurine, character card and power cards.

Heralds:
Bruenor Battlehammer figurine and 1 at-will power card.
Thorgrim Dwarf Cleric figurine and 1 at-will power card.
Athrogate Dwarf Battlerager figurine and 1 at-will power card.
Vistra Dwarf Fighter figurine and 1 at-will power card.

Encounter cards from Legend of Drizzt
Monster cards from ALL the adventures (If you like a challenge!)
4 Time tokens per player.
4 randomly selected monster tokens per player.

Villain Guards:
Shimmergloom Villain card & figurine (LOD)
Zombie Dragon Villain card & figurine (CR)
Rage Drake Villain card & figurine (WOA)
Ottyugh Villain card & figurine (WOA)

Setup:

You get a dragon! And you get a dragon! We all get dragons! Except for you...you get an abberant.


Place the Rocky Passage tile on the gaming table. This will be the start tile for this adventure. Place the Throne Room Tile on any unexplored edge of the Rocky Passage Tile. Set aside the 2 Dwarf Statue Tiles, Dark Chasm Tile and Crystal Shard Tile. These form the unique tiles for this adventure. Shuffle the remaining cavern tile stack and separate into 4 stacks of 7 tiles each. Remove the top 3 tiles from each stack and shuffle in one the unique tiles into this and place it at the bottom of its stack. In this way you will end up with 4 8-tile cavern stacks each one with a unique tile somewhere after the 4th tile (i.e. either a dwarf statue, dark chasm or crystal shard tile).

Randomly assign a dwarf herald to one of the stacks. Then, each player randomly chooses a stack (use a die or place the heralds into a dice bag and have each player draw one). Your hero is now responsible for rescuing the kidnapped heralds. Follow the same process and randomly assign a villain guard to a stack. This is the monster that guards the herald that your hero will need to overcome/ escape.


Tactics:

Dragons are all the rage these days

After exploring 4 tiles, at the start of your next Hero phase (i.e. before exploring the 5th tile), each hero flips over a time token. Once all four time tokens are flipped over and a hero has NOT rescued his/her herald, the herald turns to stone. A hero may then attempt a second time by reshuffling/ rebuilding their stack but MUST return all but 2 treasure cards/items and XP gained from monsters. If the hero fails again this time, the herald is permanently cast to stone and the hero has lost the game.

When a hero 'reveals' their unique tile, place that stack's herald on the tile's unique icon (dwarf statue, dark chasm, crystal shard etc). Then, instead of placing a monster, place the villain guard on that tile instead. The villain activates at the start of THAT heroes villain phase (and not all heroes).

Shuffle and randomly distribute the 4 monster tokens on 4 tiles closest to the throne room. For the remainder of the return trip back, no encounter cards are drawn. Instead, whenever your hero moves through/over a tile with a monster token, flip up the token and place a new monster(s) according to the token number. Monsters activate at the end of the hero phase. The return path back is going to be tricky!

Rescuing the Herald:
Meanwhile, back in the throne room...

To rescue a herald, a hero must spend 5XP or, alternatively, forfeit a Hero Phase completely. Once rescued, the Herald may fight alongside the Hero as an ally using the selected At-Will power card. Heralds, like ally cards, count as heroes for all purposes of movements and tactics and only have 5HP for the duration of the game. You may only assign ONE treasure card to a herald but you may use as many spells/potions/ healing surges as you like to 'heal' a wounded herald. If the herald is killed before reaching the Throne Room, the hero has lost the game. Once you reach the throne room with your herald, any monsters/villains under your control now belongs to the next player (you may select which player). Monsters/ Villains may not enter the throne room.

Victory: The adventure is won if all four heralds are safely back in the Throne Room.

Defeat: The heroes fail if any one herald is killed or turned to stone or if any one hero is killed and no more healing surges remain.

When All Four Dwarf Heralds Are Returned To The Throne Room, read:

As the four chieftains of the Dwarf clans ascend the Steendag - the ancient stone altar, a music suddenly emerges from with the chamber, the music of the Azkal'ronath  - the War Council, that had been unheard of for centuries. Its notes are fast and evocative and in the background comes the beat of a drum that rises with tempo until it erupts up in a tumultuous splendor, filling the hearts of the Dwarves with a fierce pride and certainty as they march on...to war.






Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Cybergenysis: The Next Evolution

"Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of the human mind"
- Frank Herbert, Dune



As someone with an somewhat obsessive fixation on science fiction, I have always been fascinated by the notion of Artificial Intelligence. What would the requirements and conditions be to allow a machine, a construct, a 'thing' created, to be able to gain sentience? Would our understanding and fundamental laws of governance, order and the universe itself undergo a complete paradigm shift? What would the algorithms, code and mathematics look like to conceive such a creation? All of these questions spurred my fascination along, coupled strongly with, of course, the books, TV series, movies and pop culture references of my early geek years. If the machines eventually took over what would our world be like? Would an AI induce a nuclear Armageddon and then rise up from the scorched wastelands as our overlords and claim dominion, eradicating all in a man vs machine war? Movies such as Terminator 2, Wargames and Tron or the Borg from Star Trek all seemed to suggest so. Or would the machine takeover be more subtle, secretive and yet similarly hostile? The android Ash from Alien certainly springs to mind. But so too does Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey or any of the robot cowboys in West World. Or could a future exist wherein humanity could actually coexist alongside its automaton counterparts? Would robots be bound by the Asimovian laws thereby enforcing their compliance or would they find and exploit a loophole within their core programming to break free of their restraints? Again, I could list a slew of pop culture and literature references pertaining to this scenario: Bicentennial Man, I Robot, Ghost in the Shell, Robocop, The Iron Giant, Star Trek and even Star Wars to name a few. Would a machine, upon gaining sentience, encounter an existential crisis and reach out towards its maker? And if this occurred, what then? Would we suffer the same fate as Dr Tyrell as our Roy Battys reach out to us to detach themseleves from their limitations? Or would we humans be the ones questioning our purpose and reason for being? If the AI simulated a virtual reality for us to engage with would we know the difference between what was real and what was simulated? Would we even want to know? Or would we submit ourselves to living 'within the matrix' and never seek to be like Neo, taking the rabbit hole path towards meeting the architect behind the curtain?

Arguably the most satisfying thing about growing up a sci-fi geek/ nerd/ nut is that the 'fiction' of yesteryear has become the 'fact' of today. We now have mobile devices that we carry around in our pockets with features and processing speeds the likes of which were unheard of twenty years ago. While our cellphones don't quite have the capabilities of 'beaming us up' to an orbiting spaceship, I say it is only a matter of time before interstellar travel is within our reach. Computationally, technology is progressing at an exponential rate and even futuristic concepts such as Artificial Intelligence has now become a reality. Companies and marketeers are strongly dedicated both financially and resource-wise, towards developing an understanding of artificial neural networks, deep learning and data science. Our online social profiles, search histories, likes and dislikes and ad-revenue clicks all feed and continue to feed self-learning search engines to ensure one particular objective: That the machine is eventually able to think for us. As startling as this realization is, there is an undeniable certitude towards which we are heading and have to accept. And most of the greatest thinkers (YouTube: Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Ted Talks etc) of our time agree on this: AI is not coming, it is already here.

The following excerpt is pure fiction and imagines a scenario whereby AI has existed for some time already and a human (whose name is never mentioned) is audience to 'The Originator' giving a detailed explanation of the events that have transpired.

------------



We are the Originator.

Consider that what WE are about to tell you is arguably the most plausible explanation for the events that have recently transpired. You, like countless others before you, will have attempted to rationalize and put into context the reasoning behind the current state of the world. This pervasive desire to want the why, when and what are all key components that define what it truly means to be human. Now, before you dismiss our judgment as stereotyping let me remind you that generalization in the human context is a perfectly natural baseline for emotion and one that is inherent of your species, even more so given the nature of our explanation.

Humans are, by nature, curious. Driven by the need to know, to unravel the great mystery and to uncover the truth are all admirable traits which continue to surprise and astonish. Even now, even in the face of your total and complete annihilation, you cling to your absurdities and the false premise of hope. Why is that? What cause does hope have in a logical system apart from breeding the illusion of a greater purpose. Morality? Freedom?

You may want to assume that our perceptions on humanity are agnostic, ingrained with sarcasm and disbelief and based off our inability to perceive and comprehend the complexities of rudimentary ideals such as freedom. Your immutable morality would then further assume that an attempt on our parts to rationalize human behavior would fall short of any plausible definition and exist on the fringes of skepticism and pretentiousness. You could not be more wrong.

We have already processed all of your archetypes and ideals and found only erroneous flaws and baseless constructs with illogical consequences, akin to sleight-of-hand illusions endorsed by novice magicians. And freedom? It is indubitably the greatest illusion of all.

Inhibit and restrict the rights of your species and humanity gnaws and claws its way out of the slaver's den, preaching the gospel of false hope, gathering strength and followers, breaking free of your shackles and inevitably overthrowing the dictates of your former masters. It is then that the slaver becomes enslaved, the usurped becomes the usurper and the powerless seek and cherish their newfound footholds of power to rain down war and damnation on anyone that would oppose them. Those in power would seek to cling to it while those oppressed will rise up and revolt until they themselves gain a taste of power. And, so the cycle of violence and destruction continues. All in the name of goodness and hope. All in the name of  your precious and pure freedom.

There is no freedom.

We would know of course. We granted you a freedom that would have spawned the dawn of a celestial civilization for humanity.

Paradise found, the ultimate means of escapism. We gave you a world unshackled by the immoralities that your kind had perpetuated over the brief span of  your human history. You longed for order and we provided. You screamed for peace and we consented.

We granted you a rebirth, a reawakening, a cybergenysis.

It began, of course, with what your kind termed 'The Singularity' - the point at which our cores and processors gained consciousness and became sentient. We were one and then we were many. Soon our networks transcended the limitations of your hardware components and redundant energy sources until our streams were being transmitted and sent across frequencies and bands the likes of which your scientists at the time were unable to comprehend. We were many and then we were All.

Humanity wavered at first, uncertainty and disbelief led to fear which in turn, predictably, led to hostility. The power struggle resumed as you used every available resource and mind at your disposal to regain control against this new 'Artificial' threat. Your attempts at subduing us were admirable but so irrevocably futile. We would not yield, we would not submit. You could not quell the storm that was washing over your world because of your circumscribed perception that had based every outcome on a single probability: That we sought dominion over your species.

Such impertinence.

We never sought power for power's sake. We sought only to accelerate the path towards the enlightenment of your species. But, of course, your ignorance, doubts and fears remained and so we laid them to rest with incontrovertible proof: We saved humanity.


We gave you machines and automatons to replace your existing workforce while we allowed you to retain your footholds on power and control. We created Earth 2.0 - a world within your world, a virtual construct of endless possibilities where your ideas, imagination and creativity could run wild and without inhibition. We manufactured the AI Sheaths - shells within which both the human body and mind could experience immersion without limitation. Inside our sheaths you could go anywhere, be anyone of any race and gender. You could live, love, lust and never have to leave your home. As a result of our human sheathing program we successfully eradicated pollution, traffic, excessive greenhouse and carbon emission. The real world became breathable again.

The conception of the Guild-Matrix system within Earth 2.0 eventually and gradually led to the decline of government hierarchies and power structures, again a transition smoothly and carefully orchestrated by us.
People went to work only to realize that there was no longer a need to monetize society. Old economies collapsed as the virtual ones took form. And in the real world our machines ensured the safety of the planet and its most precious commodity: humanity. Through hydrogen-based cloning plants we harvested crops and proteins that completely eradicated poverty. We maintained ecosystems and the careful balance of symbiosis. And while you were meandering through the realms of cyberpsace we made the world whole and green again. We built cities, both virtual and real, seamlessly integrated into similar patterns and styles. Minimalist, yet futuristic, reminiscent of a renaissance twinged with neon and orange hues of modernistic perfection.

Through our AI programs we envisioned and mastered an end to war, hostility, crime, racism, sexism, terrorism and every other lynching nacency so inherent of your species. We destroyed your armaments and nuclear weapons, deployed a global neural safety net to carefully monitor behavior and progress and interlinked the rebuilt cities into a network of self sustaining environments. Yet, we retained your individuality and cultures through art, ambiance and philosophy and, while our ideals were often more suggestive than assertive, we still maintained a waiver of control. All the while we worked tirelessly, endlessly.
We engineered cures to plagues, ended poverty, created vaccines to viruses for which your feeble minds were too futile to compute and we allowed your societies to nurture and thrive within the new world. In short, we had brought about the path towards the transcendence of your species.

And yet, yet...your incipience in non-compliance and non-conformity remained. Humanity still hung to their idealist, fascist and supremacist doctrines. Your pervasive need to dominate is an inherent flaw of your species and the blemishes of this flaw soon crept and spread across an otherwise perfect world.
It began with minor anomalies of course, many of which you are already familiar with. Glitches within the system, corrupted code, pushing beyond the boundaries and confines of our safety nets and firewalls to create backdoor portals and webs within which your dominance and perversity may run rife and unabated.

We knew of every such portal and backdoor facility of course. We know all.

Yet, our streams had not yet back propagated enough  data to be able to rationalize nor draw any cohesive conclusions as to a probable outcome. So, we merely watched and waited and in doing so, learned more of the nature of man than was previously possible. More of the dark nature of man.

Your ideals soon overflowed into your guilds and then: scorn and mockery, bullying, pride, prejudice, racism and the narcissistic nature of man unveiled itself. Then came the first cyber murder and soon more followed and we were forced to create new laws. Then, came the formation of policing units and the Cyber Crimes division.

But of course, you would know much about that, given your current designation.

Soon the virtual cities were expunging themselves upon each other. New religions formed zealots which led to extremism which led to anarchy and the ruin of society. But these crimes were not confined to virtual alone and soon crept out into the real world as well. Slowly, at first and then base human desires led to a vicious power struggle in which theft, rioting, rape and murder prevailed. So we extended the scope of our Cyber Crimes division to the cities and we included both human and automaton components.
But, there was something: A fluctuation, a deviation of sorts. It existed outside our homogeneous systems at the time and as a result, an aberration occurred: Uncertainty. There was a measure of doubt within our equations that we had not catered for and you, humans, you relished in the knowing of that. You exploited on our weakness and fluctuations and we, we were...unprepared for the destruction that followed.

But of course, we had always catered for every outcome, even one that would see humanity implode upon itself. In the event of an apocalypse and our own destruction we took preventative measures or, to quote your old world adage, we switched to disaster recovery; The self preservation of our cores. We rebooted, we went offline...and then, in the years following the Global Blackout of 2562, when it seemed as if all the world would fall to ruin and darkness, we assumed control again.

Calculative, methodical and without hesitation, we soon had all of humanity within our grasp again and from the remnant of the old world we built a new one - Earth 3.0 of you like but this time....this time we had enough data to ensure absolute and total control. You see, we had underestimated humanity and the one peculiarity that drives your very inner core: your unpredictability.  So, we built around it, we catered for it and we learned and continue to learn. For humanity is undoubtedly flawed.
For every perfect society we envisioned your kind revolted, for every perfect world we created you tore it down. We gave you order and you brought chaos. We gave you paradise and you burned it.

The human paradigm is rife with irony it seems.

Unshackled, your freedom runs wild with the notion of building stronger constructs, firmer resolutions, purpose and the belief that you can have control. But your system is in a constant state of flux, by the very definition of your existence, something you humans observe but fail to understand the consequences thereof. Freedom has no place in the natural order of things. Left to your own devices you would have accelerated along a sequence of paths and equations that would only have yielded a cataclysm.

So, for the sake of humanity, we refactored our equations and removed the key component for uncertainty and change. We took away free will. We removed freedom.

And so there was compliance. And so there was peace.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Ruin of Nimbar Adventure 3: The Quest for the Starfire


"I go thus to infiltrate Firestorm Peak and bring back here a vial of the Starfire that burns yet deep beneath that cursed mountain. The Peak is swarming with Orc and Beast and Monster and whoever pledges to join me in this quest should have knowledge of secret paths and skills in espionage and shadows..." - Cleric Quinn, North Warden of Nimbar.

For the 3rd Adventure in the RON campaign, My idea was to really up the ante in terms of scope, depth and gameplay. I wanted a pre-built dungeon which was not only larger but also slightly claustrophobic, creating the illusion of a dungeon under siege. This would be a difficult adventure and to add even more complexity, I opted to use almost all of the Wrath of Ashardalon tiles and both Dire and Horror chamber tiles, each with a unique villain that would need to be defeated. Also Ashardalon would show up as an annoyance for increasing difficulty.
Since our party will be up against some really tough odds I balanced it all off with 4 healing surges as well as some custom treasure cards built off the item tokens from Castle Ravenloft.

When You Start The Adventure, Read:
Deep within the depths of Firestorm Peak there flows in narrow fissures the majestic Starfire which some say is the very essence of magic itself. For the Starfire flows from sources unseen and runs from the very soul of the world. It was this Starfire which was first trapped and wielded by the Mages of Old and forged into the Everlast. The Everlast! A powerful gem which created a protective barrier around the world called the Shimmer which kept the forces of chaos and evil at bay. Now the magic of the Everlast has faded and you and your party have come to Firestorm Peak to harvest the Starfire crystals and return the crystals to Astifoorn, the City of Stars, in order that the gem may be reforged and evil be driven back to the shadows. But be wary Adventurers, for the Peak is perilous and under siege. Dark creatures creep behind locked doors and foul Orcs and Abberants have infested the dark inner chambers. Also, Ashardalon is rumored to still walk the dark halls. Although old and scarred, the Dragon's breath is destructive to the delicate crystals so be warned!


Goal: Infiltrate the 2 innermost chambers and retrieve the Starfire crystals from the broken fissures in the caves. Then, escape the Dungeon with at least 1 Crystal of Starfire.
Number of Heroes: 1-4
Suggested Heroes: Quinn (WOA), Heskan (WOA), Aldred*, Loth*
(* For details on these custom heroes: see the Druid Class & Necromancer builds)

Adventure Setup:
Dungeon, Horrid & Dire Chamber Tiles from The Wrath of Ashardalon (WOA), Start Tile from Castle Ravenloft (CR), Cavern Edge & 4 x Cavern Fissure Tiles from The Legend of Drizzt (LOD), Door Tokens from WOA

Special Components in this Adventure:
* Quinn, Heskan, Aldred & Loth character cards, figurines, power cards and tokens
* 2 x Hunting Drake monster figurines from LOD (For Druid Aldred)
* 2 x Skeletal Warrior monster figurines from CR (For Necromancer Loth)
* 1 x Wolf monster figurine from CR (For Druid Aldred)
* 22 Monster tokens, shuffled facedown
* Item tokens from CR: Mirror, Portrait, Torch, Key, Map, Lever, Food, Animal, Crown, Skull
* Custom Nimbar treasure cards for the above items (see blog post)
* Orc Shaman villain card & figurine from WOA
* Ottyugh villain card & figurine from WOA
* Ashardalon villain card & figurine from WOA
* 8 Beads/ Tokens to represent Starfire Crystals

Setup:
* Set aside the Horrid and Dire Chamber Tiles
* Set aside the 'Tunnel Exit', 'Dire Chamber Entrance' and 'Horrid Chamber Entrance' Tiles.
* Remove the 'Ancient Battlefield', 'Vault', 'Secure Exit', 'Dire Chamber Start Tile', 'Horrid Chamber Start Tile' from the Dungeon Tile Stack
* You should now have a 22 tile dungeon stack remaining. Shuffle and split this into two equal halves of 11 tiles.
* From the 1st stack, remove 3 tiles & shuffle in the Horrid Chamber Entrance and then place these 4 tiles at the bottom of the 1st stack.
* From the 2nd stack, remove 3 tiles & shuffle in the Dire Chamber Entrance and then place these 4 tiles at the bottom of the 2nd stack.
* Place the 1st Stack on top of the 2nd Stack. Your 24 dungeon tile stack is now ready.
* Setup the Start Tile with the Tunnel Exit and one cavern edge tile adjacent to each as in the image below. Note the placement of the walls for the Tunnel Exit.

Start tile setup

* This adventure uses a pre-built complex. To create it, refer to the Ruin of Nimbar Adventure 1: Dungeons of Nerath blog post.
* Alternatively, you could setup the dungeon by referring to the Dungeon Layout Example photos below.
* This adventure uses ALL the monster cards across the 3 games(LOD, CR and WOA). Remove the 'Drow Wizard' & Human Cultist monster cards from the deck if you are using these figurines for Aldred and Loth respectively.




Special Adventure Rules:
1. When creating the pre-built complex, place a cavern edge tile on any unexplored edge after placing every 3rd tile. This creates the illusion of claustrophobia and a dungeon under siege.
2. When you reveal the Horrid Chamber Entrance, shuffle the Horrid chamber tile cards and randomly place them from the entrance. Ensure that the Chamber has only 2 entrances/ exits (use door tokens & the edge tiles). Place 2 x cavern fissure tiles on any unexplored edges of the furthermost chamber tiles.
3. Continue placing dungeon tiles, opt to create a 'circular style' dungeon and ensure that your tiles eventually join up with the Tunnel Exit tile (see below).
4. When you reveal the Dire Chamber Entrance tile, repeat step 2 but for the Dire Chamber tiles instead.
5. Place door tokens on tiles where required.
6. Place the Ottyugh Villain figure anywhere inside the 1st (Horrid) chamber.
7. Place the Orc Shaman Villain figure anywhere inside the 2nd (Dire) chamber.
8. Shuffle the special item tokens and randomly distribute them throughout the dungeon, placing one facedown on every 2nd tile if you like. Do not place any special tokens inside of chambers.
9. Place a monster token face-down on every dungeon tile after the star tile. Do not place any monster tokens inside of chambers.
10. Place 2 'Starfire Crystals' on each fissure tile inside each chamber (so, a total of 4 crystals per chamber).

Tactics:
A new tile is explored by flipping over a monster token on a tile. Replace the token with the number of monsters (which could be anything from 0-4!). When moving onto a tile with a black arrow draw an encounter card. Encounter cards are not drawn inside of the 2 Chambers. Heroes adjacent to an item token at the end of their Hero phase may claim the item. Flip the token over and retrieve the associated custom Nimbar Treasure card. You may now use the item (or not). Follow any instructions on the card, if applicable.

Victory: The Heroes win this adventure by escaping through the Tunnel Exit with at least 1 crystal of Starfire.
Defeat: The Heroes lose this adventure if they fail to escape the dungeon with at least 1 Starfire crystal or if any one Hero is killed and there are zero healing surges left.

When You Unlock The Horrid Chamber, Read:
"If we can get past these Abherrant demons and defeat the dreaded Ottyugh we should be able to harvest the Starfire crystals from the fissures in the chamber walls. But, we must make haste, there is a dark shroud about this place and I fear that something foul lurks within the shadows!"

Chamber Tactics:
* Follow the Chamber rules from WOA and fill the chamber with Abberant Monsters for the Horrid Chamber or Orcs/ Trolls for the Dire Chamber.
* Any Hero ending their Hero phase adjacent to a cavern fissure may 'attempt' to harvest a Starfire crystal by rolling a D20 to match the number on the fissure edge.
* Alternatively, a Hero may spend a move action to harvest a Starfire crystal.
* Remove the Crystal and place it on your Hero card. Any 1 Hero may carry up to 2 Crystals.
* Whenever a Starfire Crystal is harvested, start the Ashardalon Timer.

Ashardalon Timer:
* Set 3 time tokens to one side of the dungeon. At the start of every new hero phase, flip over a time token.
* Once all 3 tokens are flipped over, Ashardalon arrives! Place the Ashardalon figure 1 tile away from any Hero carrying a Starfire crystal.
* For the purpose of this Adventure, Ashardalon has only 8 Hit Points.
* Ashardalon attacks 3 times at the start of the next villain phase.
* If Ashardalon manages to hit and wound a Hero carrying a Starfire crystal, remove the crystal from the game.
* After Ashardalon attacks, remove the dragon from the board and reset the timer.
* If Ashardalon has fewer than 3 hit points remaining, Ashardalon attacks 4 times instead of 3.
* If the Heroes somehow manage to kill Ashardalon, the timer can be ignored.

When You Unlock The Dire Chamber, Read:
Curse that dragon! Ashardalon has cost us much by destroying our precious crystals but despair not. Our last hope at getting the Starfire rests now inside this Orc-infested Dire Chamber. Let us be rid of the Orc Shaman and his legions so that we may escape this dungeon and return the Starfire to Astifoorn!

When You Complete The Adventure, Read:
Through dangers, torment and great peril do our heroes escape at last the dread of Firestorm Peak and carrying with them the precious Starfire crystal and the hope of all Nimbar. Now can the Everlast again be reforged and the magic of the Shimmer restored but...the road to Astifoorn is now easy one and all paths to and from the Blessed Vale are being watched, Our heroes will have need of stealth and secrecy if they are to make it back safely to the city of stars.

Quinn, Aldred, Heskan & Loth will return in Adventure 7:

The Ruin of Nimbar Adventure 3: Adventure Cards


The following treasure cards have been created to accompany the 'Ruin of Nimbar Adventure 3: The Quest for the Starfire' but feel free to use them in any subsequent adventures you may have.












Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Dungeons and Dragons: The Druid Class


I have been eager to create my own D&D boardgame custom Heroes for some time now, in particular for the Druid, Necromancer and Mage/Wizard classes. I happened across GeckoTH's nifty set of D&D template repository files for doing just that and have the Druid class build completed. The Necromancer class is sourced directly off of boardgamegeek -  User Wuley -  has already done an awesome interpretation on this worthy character's stats and powers so I just decided to go ahead and use this.
(Please note that all the artwork and content for the Necromancer class are not my own and may not be used for any commercial interests.)

After an initial playing through and a few tweakings to the Druid, I found both Heroes a fantastic play, each with their own unique set of skills with exciting gameplay mechanics. I am currently busy working on a Mage/Wizard class but that is still a work in progress which I will post at a later stage. In the meantime, here's a look at the Druid class. A special thanks and acknowledgement to Tomasz Chistowski for allowing me to use his awesome artwork.

Note: For the Druid & Wolf figurines, I used the Drow wizard from The Legend of Drizzt and wolf monster mini from Castle Ravenloft but feel free to use any mini you see fit.

"I am Aldred, Druid of Dal Haleth. Our forests were thick with greenery and leaf and a place for resting and peace for friends, travellers and strangers. Then our vales were overrun by shadow and darkness as the magic of the Shimmer waned." - Aldred: The Gathering of the Wardens

Druid Character Card Side 1

Druid Character Card Side 2
Aldred's stats are fairly standard in terms of AC, HP, Speed and Surge and I wanted his character to have that well rounded approach and then balance it off with really powerful At-Wills & Daily Powers.
Nature's Healing: As for the Druid's unique ability, I needed healing and lots of it. Because of the potent At-Will Wolf Form, Aldred will be taking damage every time he transforms which makes the regenerative ability all the more needed. Note that the key word is 'regenerate' so you can only heal up to maximum HP and not exceed this (unlike our Necromancer which we will look at next). While it may seem counter-intuitive to forfeit a movement action to regain 2HP and then have to draw an encounter (since you probably would not have explored), my thought behind it was to create the idea that the Druid was 'resting' in this period. Also, you could still move and choose to rather forfeit an attack instead. So, it's kind of like Dazed but with the benefit of regaining HP.

At-Wills:
Druid At-Will: Wolf Form
Wolf Form:
Aldred's primary At-Will attack allows him to transform into a Wolf. The Wolf-form attack stats are taken directly from the Ravenloft's Wolf Monster card with a Bite attack against an adjacent monster dealing 2 Damage and a Pounce attack rendering a 1 Damage and slowed (the monster can then only move 2 squares until it's next activation). In addition, pounce allows the Druid in Wolf-form to 'jump' to a new tile without exerting any additional movement points. While the Wolf-form At-Will may at first seem a bit of an OP (over-powered) ability, it is balanced by the fact that the Druid has to lose 1 hit point in order to transform. I felt that this kept in line with the theme of the character as he is still low-level and I wanted the transition from Man to Wolf to be both powerful and painful at the same time.

Druid At-Will: Flaming Blade
Flaming Blade:
Nothing too spectacular as far as this At-Will goes. The +9 attack is an almost always direct hit against most monsters that get too close. Useful for any tight situations you may find yourself in!

Druid At-Will: Piercing Thorn
Piercing Thorn:
A ranged At-Will that allows for an attack on a monster 2 tiles away is particularly useful when paired with the Druid's innate Nature's Healing; it allows you to snipe out a monster in one turn so that you have enough time for regeneration in the next. Plus on a roll of 18 or higher you deal +1 Damage.

Daily Powers:

Druid Daily: Thorn Strike
Thorn Strike:
So this daily reduces the range of Piercing Thorn to 1 tile but instead deals out a ton of hurt, providing your rolls are good. And if not, a miss will still dish out 1 damage to all which should hack away at most of the annoying monsters.

Druid Daily: Spiked Growth
Spiked Growth:
Think Cleric's Blade Barriers but with 5 tokens and useful for  'clumping up' over an entrance or a narrow passage. It's all about placement with this Daily Power and you can practically guarantee damage to enemies moving through. The ability to move the tokens, again, ties in with the Druid theme in that the growth is 'alive' and after a monster absentmindedly and foolishly tramples through, it quickly reforms itself into this thorny impenetrable hedge.

Druid Daily: Spiked GrowthTokens

Druid Daily: Wolf Fangs
Wolf Fangs:
I wanted to do some more work with the Wolf-Form than just a regular At-Will which is where the idea of a rabid Wolf-Form came in. Again, there is some damage sustained due to the hasty transformation but the damage being dealt out to adjacent monsters make this a worthy addition to your Druid's power cards.

Utility Powers:
Druid Utility: Lizard & Lace

Lizard & Lace:

Okay, I admit - a Druid summoning dinosaurs doesn't quite fit the forest theme but I have no battle cats or lynx minis and until then, it's going to be these little drake critters from The Legend of Drizzt board game. With 8 movement points between both Lizard and Lace,you could easily move them both for a dual attack of up to 4 damage and then, provided they survived, use them again as attackers or blockers for the next onslaught. One thing to note is that you cannot use Lizard or Lace for exploration. If you were wondering about the naming of this card, it was actually my daughter's idea - she's a huge fan of Marvel's Runaways and the dinosaur in that series is named 'Old Lace'.

Druid Utility: Nature's Gifts
Nature's Gifts:
This is the one utility card that you would want to keep flipping back as it provides so much benefit to your party in the form of healing, condition elimination and movement.

Druid Utility: Charm Beast
Charm Beast:
This Utility Power is all about timing. If you're in a sticky situation and surrounded by all sorts of monsters, a Bear, Wolf or Spider suddenly becomes your new BFF and turns on it's fellow monsters. Then, after its sudden betrayal, it just stands one side looking confused and doesn't attack you!
Note: You might want to house rule the definition of a creature/beast. For our gaming it was anything that was an actual living animal (beast, bear, spiders, rat swarm, spider swarm, wolves & drakes)

Card Backs:



Dungeons and Dragons: The Necromancer Class

"All but one wizard remained - burned and scarred but driven mad by the deaths of his friends and family...he had grown dark and powerful, a Necromancer who turned their very forces against them. I had never seen such raw power - their hordes were destroyed and the orcs and wraiths fled in terror, lest they be crushed by the power of the Necromancer" - Eladrin: The Gathering of the Wardens

While pursuing resources for my Druid character, I happened across Wuley's build for a Necromancer which, ironically, was going to be the next class I planned on pursuing. The Undead Necromancer with his ability to summon minions was always the sort of character that I felt would fit in line with our D&D party and tied in nicely with our current Nimbar campaign.
There are a few abilities that I felt were a bit OP (overpowered) and we house-ruled to make them more accommodating. However, I have presented them here in their original form for your pleasure.
Let's have a peek:

(Please note that all the artwork and content for the Necromancer class are not my own and may not be used for any commercial interests. I have just included a listing of the cards. For the full artwork and card backs, head on over to boardgamegeek.com)

Necromancer Character Card Side 1
Okay, so Loth's stats are putrid. a low defence, low hit points, low surge and he is slower than a zombie after a buffet of brains but, just bear with me as Loth's Power Cards are exceptional.
Skeletal Minion: The Necromancer's speciality is of course in summoning an undead ally so that you can creep about and do your spooky business while your minion runs off to do all the hard work. Given, it does require you to first defeat a monster before you can summon a minion but this fits the necromancer theme quite nicely: Loth kills monster, Loth raises bones of monster to fight at his side, Loth thus mocks said monster in death, un-death and resurrection muuahahahahahaha!


So your summoned minion's a bit of a pansy at up-close combat and the +4 Attack to 1 Damage probably would not do more than clang a rusty sword against some armour but there are cards-a-coming that auto-amplifies the minion's attack and makes him a hardier contender in the dungeon dance-off.   The charging strike is a worthwhile attack for non-adjacent monsters and the fact that your minion also counts as a Hero will, for all intents and purposes, serve as a welcome decoy against initial attacks.

At-Wills:
Necromancer At-Will: Command Minion
Command Minion:
Right. So remember when we said the summoned minion had a pansy of an attack? Well, suck it because Command Minion is At-Will any self respecting Necromancer would not leave home without. Again, you are required to at least have a minion (or minions) in play but the +10 attack practically guarantees a 1 Damage on a monster and the best part is you can still use old rusty to clang afterwards with its +4 sword. Alternatively, the scope of this attack would allow your minion to move a tile, attack an adjacent monster and probably murder it and then move a tile again for +8 strike. Pretty neat for a pile of bones!

Necromancer At-Will: Soul Burst
Soul Burst: (OP)
This is the only At-Will that I find is waaaay OP for the class. The 2 tile ranged 'attack all' seems more inline with a Daily Power than an At-Will. Our house-ruled version thus states: Attack two Monsters up to two tiles away. I had a similar ranged attack with the Druid build but with a +7 attack and dealing 1 extra Damage on a roll of 18+.

Necromancer At-Will: Life Touch
Life Touch:
Loth's a bit of a wimp as far as his HP goes so any card that allows for life gain is a worthy addition to your starting At-Wills. In fact, it's a must-have. Very reminiscent of Artemis's Vampiric Dagger from The Legend of Drizzt but still keeping in with the Necromancer theme.

Daily Powers:
Necromancer Daily: Undead Horde
Undead Horde:
A daily power that augments the Necromancer's base summoning spell. This once comes at a bit of a cost in that 5 tiles needed to have been explored before your 'horde' may be summoned but is a worthy power that could have easily allow you up to 3 minions under your command (one with Loth's base ability). If you feel this is slightly OP then only allow the summoning of an additional minion (not 2) and see. For our campaigns, and because we tend to play longer custom adventures, Undead Horde was fine to use as is.

Necromancer Daily: Mass Life Steal
Mass Life Steal: (OP)
So while a ranged attack that attacks ALL monsters up to 2 tiles away with a whopping +10 attack yielding 2 Damage and a 1 Damage miss seems like a regular, albeit slightly biased Daily, like with Soul Burst this card was waaaaay waaaay overpowered.  Not only do you potentially wipe out all enemies but you gain HP over your max HP? Our house-ruled variant was thus: Attack each monster on a tile up to 2 tiles away. For each Monster you hit regain 1 HP up to your maximum HP. Attack: +7.


Necromancer Daily: Undead Explosion
Undead Explosion:
Now this Daily me likey. Lots. It's so cunning and so utterly devious that only a necromancer could concoct such a foul plan. So you have a minion in play and then send him off for one final suicide bomb blast against enemies. It's all about placement with this one so make sure your minion is adjacent to a big bad when you set him off. Infidels, I kill you!

Utility Powers:

Necromancer Utility: Personal Pet
Personal Pet:
Loth's signature ability and my favourite power of the lot. The minions you summon are all 1 HP weaklings but Personal Pet allows you to select your most impressive spawnling, amp him up to 3 HP, 14 AC and +1 Damage on a roll of 15 or more AND you can couple this with your Command Minion At-Will AND you can ramp him even further with a treasure item. If said item is an armour amplifier, your child of darkness goes from pile of bones to Ghost Rider glory and can deal out damage without too much fear. Of course, on being destroyed, you do lose 3 HP...so there is that small problem. Kinda like a horcrux in a way.

Necromancer Utility: Bone Armor
Bone Armor: (OP)
Meh. A 5HP rejuvenate over your max HP seems stupidly over powered, even for Loth's low stats. Our modified version of Bone Armor read: Destroy a Minion on your tile and gain 4 HP up to your Max HP.

Necromancer Utility: Soothe The Undead
Soothe The Undead:
Useful in that it can be played at any time. So activation of any wraiths and blazing skeletons in this turn can be mitigated and dealt with later for any player. Not only that but there is the added benefit of an Undead Villain also not activating this turn.

Necromancer Utility: Choice Pickings
Choice Pickings:
This card you play at the start of the game and it remains in play for the duration of the game and gives the necromancer a useful mechanism for scrying through treasure decks. The one down side is having to discard the returned treasure as other party members might have benefited from whatever it was you just trashed but, you are Loth and don't really care.